Three British tourists hurt as coach crashes in Belgium

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The Independent Online

A group of holidaymakers returning to Britain were injured in a coach smash in Belgium, the operators said yesterday.

Initial fears were that five Britons were seriously injured in the collision between the coach, a car and a house in Middelkerke, near the coastal town of Ostend at 11.10am local time.

Operators Leger Holidays, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, said there were 35 passengers and two drivers on board the coach which was returning from a nine-day trip to Prague, Vienna and Budapest.

Later, the firm said 32 passengers were being looked after in a hotel, and two more were expected to join them after a short hospital stay.

The condition of the remaining passenger was not known.

One of the drivers was also receiving hospital treatment, and his condition was unclear, while the other was unhurt.

A Leger Holidays spokesman said: "We now have 32 of the 35 passengers safe and being looked after in a hotel.

"They will be returning to the UK today and tomorrow.

"Of the remaining three passengers, two will be kept in hospital for a short period, while we are awaiting an update on the third.

"One of our two drivers on the coach at the time of the incident, the one not driving the coach, remains in hospital and we await an update on his condition, the other is not hurt.

"A team of nine Leger personnel, including a specially trained counsellor, are travelling from the UK to meet the three Leger staff already at the scene.

"Relatives and next of kin are being kept updated with the very latest information."

Two people in the car and two in the house were also slightly injured.

Casualties were taken to hospitals close to Ostend and nearby Bruges.

Consular staff were sent to the scene to establish more facts, the Foreign Office said.

The holiday company advised anyone who was concerned about friends or relatives to call 01709 786502 for further information and check the website for updates.